February 2008

Spock.com – the Best for People Search

by Jay Bhatti on February 25, 2008

Associated Content reviews Spock.com:

The Internet revolution has made our life much easier. Things which were once considered very difficult or almost impossible, have been made possible through the advent of the world wide web. Technological advancements have made communication methods very easy and also economical for
the common man that, almost anyone who knows how to browse through the Internet can communicate with any other person who is in any other part of the world, where there is access to the world wide web.

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Oscars? Who Cares!

by Jay Bhatti on February 23, 2008

Stuff We Like takes a look at Spock’s Oscars predictions against the experts.

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Spock Knows Stuff

by Jay Bhatti on February 21, 2008

The NY Times takes a closer look at Spock’s Oscar predictions.

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Movie Fans and Critics Make Oscar Picks

by Jay Bhatti on February 20, 2008

Variety takes a look at Spock and other experts Oscar picks.

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Happy President’s Day

by Jay Bhatti on February 18, 2008

Popular Blog Popserious takes a look at Presidential search trends:

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Popular Phrases After A Name on the Web

by Jay Bhatti on February 13, 2008

99.20% of the time, the phrase right after someone’s name on the web is in a professional context.

Ever wonder what people say about themselves right after their name on the web.  You know what we mean, go to a corporate bio page or “about us” page on the web and we see something like “John Smith is the founder and CEO

Spock.com looked at over 1 million corporate bio pages and came up with  what phrases people say immediatly after their name.

Surprisingly, the term “is a member of the” is the most popular. It occurs 1.15% of the time after someone’s name.  While 99.12% of the phrases that occur after someone’s name are professional, the second more popular phrase on the web is actually personal in tone – the term “was born and raised” is a close second with a .8% probablity of occuring after someone’s name.

The rest of the terms that appear on people after their name are pretty professional terms that each account for less then .7% in terms of frequency of occurance.

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Site Review: Spock.com

by Jay Bhatti on February 11, 2008

Killer Startups takes a closer look at Spock.com:

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The_connections_show Spock – The People Search EngineAudio
by Stan Relihan | February 10, 2008 | PDF of Article

Jay Bhatti is a very intelligent & highly-articulate 34-year old Wharton Business School MBA graduate and Entrepreneur. Based in San Francisco, Jay is co-founder of Spock.com, a People Search Engine, which launched in Public Beta in August 2007.

For those that are curious, S.P.O.C.K. is an acronym for ‘Single Point of Contact by Keyword’ – and represents a new concept in Search – devoted exclusively to finding, indexing & profiling PEOPLE on the Internet, rather than just documents.

One of the uniquely attractive aspects of Spock is that it combines Machine Search with Human Interaction to add, update & validate content, in a Wiki-like fashion. Good behavior is rewarded and bad behavior is penalized through an innovative concept: ‘Spock Power’. This is an element I predict will catch on and end up being widely adopted by Web 2.0 sites, Social Networks and other applications on the Internet.


TPN :: The Connections Show
Jay Bhatti - Entrepreneur & Co-founder, Spock.com

TPN :: The Connections Show – Episode #021

‘Spock – The People Search Engine’

Download Mp3 [18:45m]

Featured Guest: Jay Bhatti – Entrepreneur & Co-founder, Spock.com

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There are some new ideas being put forth today, challenging all previous assumptions that websites with community generated content own that content – even though it was their users that created it. At Spock, we strongly believe that data should be free and allowed to move from one destination to the next without limit.

The reason I create data on Spock is because it’s useful to me to be able to organize people and show the world a public compilation of myself. I want to be able to do anything I want with that data though, like being able to show that data on Facebook, or exporting all of my trusted contacts on Spock to my preferred email system. You’ll notice that Spock has an API just for this reason – and we’ve had an API ever since day one of private beta. Your data isn’t locked behind a firewall here – our API is easy-to-use and reliable, so you can conveniently access your data whenever you want – and do whatever you want with it.

We understand that you have too many usernames, too many passwords, and data spread out on too many servers: photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube, groups in Google, colleagues on LinkedIn and friends in Facebook. We’re trying to help. We’re working towards allowing you to import contacts in as many different formats as possible: CSV, e-mail address book, social network friends, vCards, and more. We will then allow you to export all your contacts – from so many different sources, in so many different formats – in whatever format you want. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all your Facebook friends’ email addresses in your Outlook address book? Wouldn’t you like connect with your Yelp friends on LinkedIn?Spock is working towards this, for you.

Here’s a summary of some of the other projects we have planned to make consolidating your data safe, secure, and painless. (Projects are in various stages of completion)

  • Aggregating your contacts from all sources into whatever contact management application you want to use
  • Find where your contacts are on the web – blogs, social networks, biographies, etc.
  • Aggregate your, and your contacts’, “Status” (like Twitter, Facebook, etc.) from all the “Status” systems you belong to, and export this aggregation via RSS or Atom feed
  • Allow you to post a status update from a single application to all the systems you want
  • Enable you to search all of the social graphs at once, in one place
  • Connecting with any of your contacts on any social network – “friending” them on Facebook, “connecting” with them on LinkedIn, etc. from just one place

Some of these features are yet to be even started; not because they are not important to us, but because we are waiting for an established standardization model to be set. We suspect that we will be using OpenID for user authentication, oAuth for API authentication, RSS for feed exportation, and FOAF for relationship definitions, as these seem to be the emerging leaders. However, all of these “standards” are relatively new and radical, so we are waiting to see if they will be adopted by the average user – not just those deeply involved in the tech community.

We strongly believe that data portability is the solution to a major problem of information overload and fragmentation. Data portability is a way to achieve greater simplicity within your life, especially if you are too busy or stressed out to hassle with sites that lock down the information you should have free access to move around! We are working so hard to make sure we can support it using open standards.

Our latest action has been joining the data portability action group to make sure we can work with the community to develop standards and make this happen within Spock and the tech ecosystem. Please work with us and let us know any thoughts or suggestions you have for us on this issue.

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How does Spock stack up against Google?

by Jay Bhatti on February 3, 2008

When co-founders Jaideep Singh and Jay Bhatti first proposed Spock, they envisioned a superior people search where everyone in the world had a unique search result. Though we’re not quite there, we have managed to index over 300 million unique people search results, maintain over 3 billion people data records, and are constantly developing new ways to create relevant search results. With the ability to easily view pictures, tags, quotes, news and other web links, the Spock Team is confident that we’re well on our way to creating the best site on the Web for people search.

According to searchenginewatch.com, Google performed an estimated 32,796,000,000 searches in 2006. While Google’s traffic continues to dominate most search activity, it’s within the expanding people search marketplace where sites such as Spock have thrived. With the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace, Hi5, etc, people searching now consumes a significant percentage of overall search activity.Comscore.com noted that in August of 2007 the average North American spent over four hours on various Social Networking sites, and that industry wide, social networking sites showed a 10% growth in unique visitors for 2007. With social networks designed to connect the average person, successfully finding people other than celebrities has become a problem that Google and Yahoo have struggled with.

At Spock, one of the most frequent comments we receive is how people prefer Spock’s UI to Google’s because of the different ways information can be found. Rather than view a page full of nondescript links where identifying a person can be difficult, a Spock search result has pictures, bio, tags, web links, etc. By being able to interact with the site and enhance a search result the likelihood of someone having difficulty finding you becomes significantly less.

Examining the screen shots below shows how a Google Search of celebrity Ashley Tisdale offers pages of links but not much else in terms of content.Yet Ashley Tisdale’s Spock search result returns images, a bio, web links, related people, quotes and a number of additional features. When looking for someone who hasn’t graced the pages of People Magazine, a Spock search result becomes even more invaluable. On Google, a search for Olin student George Sass returns literally millions of results, few of which have anything to do with the George Sass you’re looking for. On Spock George Sass returns all sorts of information you’re unlikely to find on any other site. Searching for something other than a specific name returns a valuablepeople search as well. The term Microsoft Employee on Google returns almost 2 million pages of links with very few actual Microsoft Employees.The same search on Spock returns everyone from Bill Gates to C++ programmer Herb Sutter.

Google may be a terrific search engine, but in the future use Spock for your people search needs.

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